Being Kind, Sharing Stories (#BestOf)

(the Best of) A Year of Being Kind, Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Different year, same week in July. Back again in western Pennsylvania. Yes, I’ve joined the delegates at the New Wilmington Mission Conference for another year. What an amazing experience. I’ve been wondering what will happen this week. How God will nudge me, or give a word to me. This year, too, there have been some amazing stories shared. Again. For example, tonight at evening meeting the conference honored everyone who had served in long-term (for two years or more) mission service. The stage was full, and the total of years was over 1000. Such service. Such devotion. Amazing.

 

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, July 21, 2014

(109th) NWMC theme verse from July 2014

(109th) NWMC theme verse from July 2014

Being Kind, Sharing Stories

Such a plethora of stories today! Bits and pieces from all over. All kinds of fantastic ideas, and new thoughts, and different methods. My mind is running on overdrive, just from all of the excellent input. New Wilmington Mission Conference is truly a unique gathering.

Some people I know, others are new. Some of these stories are continuations from last summer or several summers before. Other parts are stunning. Or heart-breaking. Or chilling. I shake my head in amazement, or dread, or sheer joy.

And, I have been sharing some of my story, as well. The good parts as well as the not-so-good parts. I want to be honest and open with many of these dear people. That’s the kind of place this conference is. That’s the nature of the continuing relationship I have built up over more than fifteen years of being here in this place, at this conference.

It’s good to be here and to see friends again. Friends I have deep relationships with, but friends I only see once a year, for just a handful of days (if that).

I pray for this gathering. I ask God to richly bless the marvelous works that come out of this conference. (And, have come out of this place, for over one hundred years.) Some of these young, old, and middle-aged people are first-timers, and others have come back again and again for thirty, forty, even fifty years.

Just amazing. God, bless the people who come to this place. Bless those who were unable to be here, for whatever reason. And God—bless Your work in the world, wherever Your people gather.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Suggestion: visit me at my daily blog for 2015: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Being Kind, Sharing Stories

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, July 21, 2014

NWMC theme verse from July 2014

NWMC theme verse
from July 2014

Being Kind, Sharing Stories

Such a plethora of stories today! Bits and pieces from all over. All kinds of fantastic ideas, and new thoughts, and different methods. My mind is running on overdrive, just from all of the excellent input. New Wilmington Mission Conference is truly a unique gathering.

Some people I know, others are new. Some of these stories are continuations from last summer or several summers before. Other parts are stunning. Or heart-breaking. Or chilling. I shake my head in amazement, or dread, or sheer joy.

And, I have been sharing some of my story, as well. The good parts as well as the not-so-good parts. I want to be honest and open with many of these dear people. That’s the kind of place this conference is. That’s the nature of the continuing relationship I have built up over more than fifteen years of being here in this place, at this conference.

It’s good to be here and to see friends again. Friends I have deep relationships with, but friends I only see once a year, for just a handful of days (if that).

I pray for this gathering. I ask God to richly bless the marvelous works that come out of this conference. (And, have come out of this place, for over one hundred years.) Some of these young, old, and middle-aged people are first-timers, and others have come back again and again for thirty, forty, even fifty years.

Just amazing. God, bless the people who come to this place. Bless those who were unable to be here, for whatever reason. And God—bless Your work in the world, wherever Your people gather.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Being There For Someone–Or Two Someones

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, January 27, 2014

BK Eph 4-32

Being There For Someone—Or Two Someones

I went to the grocery store recently. Just ran in to grab a couple of things before going home for the night. Lo and behold, I happened to run into a couple I’ve known for years, but haven’t seen for some time. It was wonderful to see them! We had a joy-filled meeting, right there in the dairy aisle. We all hugged, and we picked up right where we had left off, several years ago.

Isn’t it amazing how that can happen, with certain friends? You don’t see each other for many months, or even years, and then you meet again—unexpectedly, in a grocery store, for instance—and it’s just as if the last time we met was only a few days ago. We started up an unfinished conversation just as if we had only been briefly interrupted. (I’m smiling as I write, because it’s so marvelous! Good, good friends.)

One half of the couple recently started a new job, and I rejoiced with him. “That’s wonderful,” I said. “Congratulations!” Right off the bat, we began to talk in depth, not simply superficial stuff at all. (That’s one thing I love about my friend. We can both dive into the serious stuff when we need to, and find ourselves on the same wave length.)

I know the verse I’m lifting up for this month is Ephesians 4:32. Looking back at the conversation my friend and I had, we both exemplified being kind and tenderhearted to each other. There was a great deal of give and take, both of us listened to each other sincerely. We didn’t waste time, but got down to honest, open communication.

Funny thing, communication. Words are powerful. Words can be hurtful and destructive. (As both my friend and I can attest.) But words can also praise, build up, encourage, comfort, and soothe. This passage from the end of Ephesians 4 has a list of both negative as well as positive suggestions for action. Sure, the list of the things we are not supposed to emulate is clear, but so is the positive list. Communication can rank high on the positive list, and seems to be a common thread. We are encouraged to exhibit these positive characteristics in our words, deeds and lives. Communicating in a way that is pleasing to God is a marvelous start.

My friend and I certainly were supportive to each other when we met by chance. Or was it by chance? God’s providence, perhaps? I suspect God had a hand in our meeting, because I believe we all received encouragement from each other. Isn’t that the way that God often works? Even when God’s hand might be mostly hidden from view?

As verse 32 tells us, we can build up each other. Whether we’re friends, family or simply strangers, it’s the loving, encouraging thing to do. Be kind and tenderhearted.

@chaplaineliza

Another Snowy Day

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, January 2, 2014

a boy's best friend

Today was another snowy day. Slow driving, drifting snow. Treacherous walking, blowing snow. A good day to be of service! So many worthwhile opportunities, I saw potential ways of service all over the place. I rose to the occasion. Ran an errand for someone else. Cleaned someone else’s kitchen. Several times, people expressed their gratitude to me. Said ‘thank you’ to me. And, that felt good.

I’m not doing this for the strokes. (At least, not primarily for the strokes . . . but that is a consideration. Let’s be honest, now.) I want to see how making intentional service a daily part of my life will have an effect on me. Will it change me? (I think, yes.) If so, how will it change me? What kinds of service am I drawn toward, or repelled from? What about those I serve—what are some varying attitudes towards being served?

I return to the verse I’ve chosen for the month of January. Ephesians 4:32 begins “Be kind to one another . . . .” Service is a great way for me to get out of myself, and being kind is certainly one way to be of service. One of the attitudes I wanted to flee from is the attitude of self-centeredness, or of bondage to self. When I concentrate on myself to the exclusion of everyone else, that is selfishness to the extreme. God is not pleased with me, and neither are other people. And truth be told, I am ultimately not pleased with myself, either. So, being kind is a positive step outside of my self, or a step outside of my self-centeredness.

As I’ve said before, I do have the gift of being helpful—on occasion. It comes naturally to me. Usually. I especially want to focus on being kind to others. Surprise, surprise! I find I take the focus off myself. And, I put the focus on God and on other people, which is so beneficial to me and my continued journey with God.

This blog will incorporate my thoughts on my intentional service, but it may morph into something more. In fact, I hope so! Here’s an example. As a part of the launch of this blog, I sent out a message/email to a number of my friends and acquaintances yesterday.  I included this quote:  “If you have a great way of serving, please drop me a line and tell me about it. I’d like to list some tried-and-true ways to serve others on my blog site, too. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.” In this twenty-four hour period, the response has been amazingly gratifying, and quick!  A dozen ideas of how to serve others, and that’s just the beginning!

My heart was so warmed by this generous response that I decided today to have a weekly focus on one featured way of doing or being of service. I want to make Friday my focus day. (“Feature Friday,” anyone?) Stay tuned for ways to serve that have particularly touched my heart.

@chaplaineliza

(P.S. I don’t know who took this photo, but I thought it was an awesome expression of being kind!)